Most backpackers wouldn’t pack mosquito netting for a hike during shoulder season. I certainly didn’t. In fact, my recent section hike along the Appalachian Trail was delayed by two weeks because a ranger in the Delaware Water Gap told me the mountains still had 10”-30” of snow. Why in the world would a backpacker need mosquito netting?
The need for mosquito needing began on this hike during the afternoon of April 11th. The days prior to this day had been warm, but this afternoon’s high temperature reached a critical threshold that hatched and released hundreds of millions of small black insects. Many of them, perhaps most, were attracted to me.
The insects were all over me – ears, eyes, arms. They were relentless.
My pace quickened to outrun the nuisances. The insects found me when I stopped to catch a breath. I prayed for a gentle breeze to drive them away. There was a breeze on only one summit that afternoon. The black insects followed me as far as my tent’s zipper door. Relief!
They waited all night for me. Watching. Listening. Waiting.
The insects rejoined my hike in the morning. I hiked as quickly as I could – my attempt to create a localized breeze. The bugs bugged me during breakfast and again during lunch. In the afternoon of April 12th, the black insects wandered away a few minutes before the rain began. Relief!
The use of mosquito netting is not limited to the tropics. This netting can be used as a barrier to all sorts of small insects.
Mosquito netting can be found in many sizes. The lightweight head net size would suffice on many backpacking trips. It simply covers your head.